I've read with interest the latest distrowatch weekly that identifies some pros and cons of the distributions over the year 2006. Some weaknesses for Mandriva are identified, I take them with mitigated impressions, the observations not being suficiently factual for me (page hit ranking is biased by conception and by zealots, some actions by Mandriva are not taken into account).

The only positive aspect noted by ladislav is the release of free and non-free Mandriva 2007.0 distribution, both for club and with no delay for other users. Hum, not such a positive view of past practices :/ Other critics by ladislav are a good indication of an external point-of-view about the distro, which overlooks some obvious points that have been accomplished this year by Mandriva and its community of contributors to free software.

First, an obvious point has been overlooked : Mandriva actually worked to provide a real-free distribution (not a so so 100% free that is in fact 100% gratis, nope : a real free-as-in-freedom distribution). It is a great effort by Mandriva to promote free software and providing the user with the choice of non-free software for unlucky users relying on reluctant-to-adhere-to-FOSS vendors (whose hardware users should not trust to buy next time) : hey, according to http://www.mandriva.com/en/download/free 2007.0 free edition and the One 2007.0 download pages that's 4 media (i586 / x86_64 CD + DVD + mini) + 4 live-CD distributions instead of one, not counting localization (Gnome/KDE + free/non-free).
The free edition has been of real use for me to install my latest laptop, as the nvidia driver did not work for my too recent nvidia card in my laptop (which refused to boot), so yes free software (and a kernel free of blob drivers) is really useful !

Mandriva Magazine as a cheerfully welcomed vector of communication with the Community : 2 versions in 2006 + a draft version coming from a french initiative for last quarter of 2006 (quickly followed by spanish contributers and translated to english).

"Cooker" forums to help club members to contribute to development of 2007.0. By identifying bugs encountered and helping french people to enter / vote bugs identfied in bugzilla, better qualified than the - sometimes usual - "it does not work". I think this initiative is going to continue, to leverage the knowledge of users willing to contribute.

A new wiki is being organized to provide better integration of the "old" wiki used for developments aka qa wiki and the knowledge base of club wiki (including localized versions). Work is still in progress and will welcome users at http://wiki.mandriva.com in 2007. A new version of bugzilla, respecting Mandriva website appearance is only the tip of the iceberg.

Some Mandriva's strengths are not yet used to their full potential :
For me, the ameliorations brought by Mandriva for 2007 will continue wisely. I've got high expectations for Community involvement, which will require Mandriva to exchange and communicate even better with the contributers (be them contributing to testing, documenting, answering questions on forums, packaging, developing or simply contributing to free software by spreading GNU/Linux in their family, friends and colleagues).

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